“Strengthening the Backward Linkage has no Alternative”- Md. Saleudh Zaman Khan, Director BTMA

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Since the inception in 1982, NZ Tex Group has expanded manifold over the years and today NZ is one of the most diversified and independent manufacturing conglomerates in the Textile industry of Bangladesh. With the vision and philosophy of partner the customers, NZ made every effort to involve in all areas of Textile industry like Spinning, Weaving, Dyeing and finishing, Printing and  Denim. NZ believes that the latest technology and motivated professionals are indispensable for success. Customers are our first and foremost priority in driving our business and we take great pride in our ability to perform with excellence and discipline. Recently Team Denim Focus had a courtesy conversation with Md. Saleudh Zaman Khan, Managing Director, NZ Textile Ltd.; Chairman, NZ DY Flax Spinning, NZ Fabric Ltd., NZ Denim Ltd. & Director of BTMA. Mr. Saleudh Zaman Khan shared his views about business during the ongoing pandemic. For our readers, the conversation is drafted below-

Denim Focus:  In this pandemic situation, how do you see the scenario of the primary textile sector?  

Saleudh Zaman Khan: In recent times, the problem that we are facing globally is an unstable & interrupted supply chain. Due to the pandemic situation, we are getting fewer orders from our buyers. And whether we get an order, buyers give us very limited time to complete that order (within 15-30 days). Again sometimes, buyers give us an order and then tell us to hold that order. Actually, due to the pandemic COVID-19, the trade & transportation situation of various countries keep changing repeatedly and so the buyers feel confused while decision making & order confirmation. As a result, our planning department is facing a lot of problems for price-fixing, ensuring supply chain &, etc. In the post-pandemic period, the price of raw materials has also increased and now it takes more time to import the raw materials. As a result, the price of yarn & fabric has also increased. On the other hand, buyers are not willing to pay us more money. So, now it has become more difficult to make a profit and maintain the business. Again, day by day the business opportunities for Bangladesh is also decreasing especially for fabric manufacturing. As China is sharing a good bond with Pakistan now, they are doing quite a lot of investment in the textile sector of Pakistan. So, Pakistan is also going to be a strong competitor for us. On the other hand, the machinery development & innovation scopes for Bangladesh are very tiny right now. It takes around 2-2.5 years to receive any textile machinery after the order confirmation and for the next 2 years, all the textile machinery has been booked by China, Vietnam, Indonesia & Pakistan. So, we can say no new textile machinery is coming to Bangladesh till 2024. This is unfortunate and a great threat.

Denim Focus: Could you please share the strength of NZ fabrics?  And how is the company contributing RMG Exports?  

Saleudh Zaman Khan: The strength of NZ fabrics is our innovation. We focus on our R&D more & more. Each year we make a high investment in researching new designs, new products & value addition. In the past, the market share was basically cotton-based, now it has been shared by Lycra, Hemp, Linen, Tencel, etc.  For working with those fibers, we needed to invest a lot of time, capital & labor. Despite that, we did not give up rather we have continued those progress for the last 5 years. Using our fibers, fabrics & blending operations, we create various designs & exhibit them to our buyers in various fairs and visiting door to door. With this experience, this is how NZ fabrics have achieved the confidence of the buyers. We are Branding Bangladesh, in this way that we don’t make cheap products rather we make quality products. Another strength of us is our manpower, we provide various training to our manpower so that they can improve their skills and do value addition. But I believe, only NZ fabrics cannot develop Bangladesh’s Textile Industry, rather we all need to work together.  So, in terms of providing training to the manpower, I think broadly. After getting trained, if any employee leaves NZ Fabrics and goes to another factory, though he will not be working for our company, he will work for the development of Bangladesh’s Textile Industry through another company. Also, we need to keep in mind that customers love to visit the markets where they can find a lot of shops, rather than visiting a single shop. And so, NZ Fabrics always works for the innovation in product and also the innovation in man. We work for the textile industry passionately, not just for earning money or doing business. 

Denim Focus: Still most of the raw materials of Polyester are imported, how can a sustainable supply chain be developed here?  

Saleudh Zaman Khan: Bangladesh’s Textile Industry has been working with natural fiber.  But now we need to enter into polyester & other filaments’ markets. For Bangladesh, doing something new is very challenging. Because, while experimenting with something new, we do not get enough support from our Government, our market, & also from our policy. Banks don’t support us, buyers do not want to trust us if we can work with something new or not, again importing that new raw material is not easy as our country policy only permits the tax-free import of cotton. Though importing a new raw material is opening new doors for the business. Around 1.5 years ago, our company planned to produce filament yarn from recycled plastic. But for that, we do not have enough raw material (used PET bottles) in our country. Again, importing that raw material in BD is either not permitted (used PTD bottles), or too costly (recycled plastic chips). We, all the textile factories, need to talk to our government about this. And if we get the government’s support on this topic, the textile business scenario of Bangladesh will be changed (polyester market, polyester in denim, recycled materials).  Strengthening the backward linkage has no alternative. If our backward linkage is not strong, then the RMG sector will face lots of difficulties in the future. At present, due to the pandemic situation, India is not importing any yarn. So, we are completely working with local yarn resources. As a result, it is making a huge impact on the price of raw materials. We cannot control the market of raw materials. But what we can do is, we can make our supply chain strong. 

Denim Focus: Brands are now focusing on sustainability, how is NZ fabrics maintaining sustainability?  

Saleudh Zaman Khan: At present, the whole world is focusing on Sustainability. Brands are also going for Sustainable Yarns, Recycled Yarns. For the last 5 years, we are manufacturing recycled yarns and it has got the market for the last 2 years. Our company always thinks about what going on in the world and we develop ourselves like that. The main motto of our company is to represent Sustainable Products to the World Market and develop Bangladesh keeping abreast of the time & buyers. Our company has already achieved most of the certificates – RSC, OCS, GOTS &, etc in this sector. We work with organic cotton, primary sustainable product, etc. Our spinning R&D team is continuously researching and doing innovations in recycle-based products & also other products such as Lycra, viscose, etc. we are also focusing on dyes & chemicals. Sadly, in this present situation, buyers are not willing to pay us for recycled products. Though in the case of recycled cotton, we are not getting enough price, but for recycled polyester, there is scope.

Denim Focus: Could you please share the investment plan of NZ Textile Limited?  

Saleudh Zaman Khan: Talking about the recent investment, we are expanding our spinning, increasing our production, in Araihazar in a separate complex, along with garments. We are also investing to create a spinning section for denim with denim washing plants. Recently, our company along with 2 partners, have thought for a deal of selling Zara’s products in Bangladesh. But due to the tariff structure, we are facing some difficulties. It may take some time.

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